The takeover of Chelsea may be postponed due to concerns that Roman Abramovich may backtrack on his promise to write off the £1.6 billion loan he made to the club.
There are concerns that the matter may now jeopardize the club’s sale, which has a May 31 deadline. It appears that an attempt has been made to restructure the club’s sale, which would require paying off a debt owed by Chelsea’s parent company, Fordstam Ltd., to a Jersey-based business called Camberley International Investments, which appears to have ties to Abramovich.
The Premier League will meet in June to draw up plans for the 2022–23 season and will require the club to be fully licensed to operate; they are currently operating under a special license granted by the UK government following Abramovich’s sanction in March, which saw his assets frozen due to alleged ties to Vladimir Putin’s regime, which he has denied.
That makes a takeover even more urgent, but it’s been hampered by the uncertainty over what will happen to the selling funds. According to the sanctions imposed on Abramovich, the oligarch is not allowed to profit from the sale of Chelsea, the club he bought in 2003. He has also been removed from the board of directors of the club.
He first pledged to effectively write off the money owing to him in order to assist the sale, indicating that cash would be directed to “all the victims of the Ukrainian war.” Where the revenues from the sale go will be up to the discretion of the UK government.
Abramovich was already racing against the clock to complete a transfer of ownership, with Chelsea’s existence in jeopardy, but that might be complicated further if he demands repayment of the £1.6 billion loans. The favored bidder is now a partnership formed by Todd Boehly, but Jim Ratcliffe, a British tycoon, is also believed to be in the race.
However, Abramovich’s actions have cast doubt on Boehly’s ability to become the new owner of the Blues and provide some confidence to fans, as well as Thomas Tuchel and his players. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK government imposed sanctions on the 55-year-old.
However, Abramovich has reportedly stated that he wants to modify the manner in which the club is sold in order to ensure that the loan owed to Camberley International Investments by Chelsea’s parent company, Fordstam Ltd., is returned. Although the ownership of the Jersey-based firm is unknown, it “appears to be tied to Abramovich or family members,” according to the government’s penalties.
If that isn’t the case, Chelsea will be working against the clock since their existing license expires on May 31. The threat of the team’s being banned from the Premier League is “a genuine one” if Abramovich does not abandon his demand for compensation.